Hearing help-seeking and rehabilitation: perspectives of adults with hearing impairment

Int J Audiol. 2012 Feb;51(2):93-102. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2011.606284. Epub 2011 Sep 26.


Objective: This study investigated the perspectives of adults with hearing impairment on hearing help-seeking and rehabilitation.

Design: Individual semi-structured interviews were completed.

Study sample: In total, 34 adults with hearing impairment in four countries (Australia, Denmark, UK, and USA) participated. Participants had a range of experience with hearing help-seeking and rehabilitation, from never having sought help to being satisfied hearing-aid users.

Results: Qualitative content analysis identified four main categories ('perceiving my hearing impairment', 'seeking hearing help', 'using my hearing aids', and 'perspectives and knowledge') and, at the next level, 25 categories. This article reports on the densest categories: they are described, exemplified with interview quotes, and discussed.

Conclusions: People largely described hearing help-seeking and rehabilitation in the context of their daily lives. Adults with hearing impairment rarely described clinical encounters towards hearing help-seeking and rehabilitation as a connected process. They portrayed interactions with clinicians as isolated events rather than chronologically-ordered steps relating to a common goal. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Correction of Hearing Impairment / psychology*
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hearing Aids / psychology*
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss / psychology
  • Hearing Loss / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Kentucky
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Perception*
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / psychology
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / rehabilitation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Queensland